Loving Our Neighbor…, Kinda

Yesterday, I read an article on Red Letter Christians written by Hugh Hollowell titled Open and Affirming Because of the Bible, written in response to an article by Dan Martin, Open? Yes! Affirming? No.  Anyone who knows me can tell which article I agree with just by reading the titles.  For those who don’t, I’m solidly on the “open and affirming” side of this discussion.  I use the term “discussion” to be polite; some of the comments made on both pieces are pretty harsh and are more like an assault than a discussion.  The question of whether the church (and Christians) should affirm homosexual relationships is the most contentious issue facing us today and when words start flying, too many of them are sadly lacking in grace and love.

In the discussion on both articles, the one commenter I appreciated most was Aric Clark, of Two Friars and Fool.  Even though he was getting smacked around (verbally) by a couple of more conservative Christians, Aric never strayed from his message that it’s all about love; love of our neighbor and our enemy.  Every time you say that, those against affirming LGBTQ relationships are always quick to point out that they do love these people.  Personally, I don’t hear a lot of love coming from you when you compare gay people to pedophiles and sexual predators.  Or that affirming gay marriage can will ultimately destroy that “august” institution when straight people are doing a bang-up job of that already.  I think what my more conservative brothers and sisters would love most is if LGBTQ people would become just like them; then, they wouldn’t be so uncomfortable.  But, we would do well to remember the words of Thomas Merton, who said “The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them”.  In other words, it ain’t really love if you want to turn them into little clones of yourself.